The last time that I saw my brother he was doped up and living in a crack house. He looked sickly scrawny. His hair was matted and greasy. When he cracked his trademark goofy smile, his mouth looked like the insides of a rotted Halloween pumpkin.
I remember looking at him and being scared out of my mind. There was a part of me that wanted to grab him by his brittle shoulders and shake him into shape. And then there was a part of me that wanted to fall to the floor, curl up into the fetal position, and cry until my eyes fell out.
Seeing him there in that crack house, melting away before my eyes, stirred up a storm of emotions that was too heavy and chaotic to handle. And that's why, after my brother disappeared into the attic, with some random girl to smoke or shoot up god only knows what, I quietly left without saying goodbye.
That was over a decade ago. And that was the last time I saw my brother.
Addiction does crazy things to families. It can drive you to feel and do things you never thought you would do. It destroys relationships and it tears siblings apart.
It is my hope, with this series of five podcasts--four of which are available for your listening pleasure right now--that we can spark a new conversation and offer support and hope to the countless number of siblings living alongside an addicted loved one. But more than anything I want everyone that listens to know that they are not alone.
The Sibling Project: Podcasts
Episode #1: Meet Nicole Spivey - Nicole struggles to understand why her older brother chooses heroin over their relationship. CLICK HERE to listen to Episode #1.
Episode #2: Meet Ginny Atwood - Ginny lost her younger brother Chris to a tragic overdose in 2013. What haunts Ginny the most today is knowing how badly Chris wanted to get better. CLICK HERE to listen to Episode #2.
Episode #3: Meet Linda & Merna - When they lost their sister Annette to a tragic alcoholic related suicide, Linda became the caretaker while Merna became the peacemaker. CLICK HERE to listen to Episode #3.
Episode #4: Meet Theresa Valentin - Theresa has two addicted older brothers. As Theresa told me, one loved heroin and the other would settle for whatever drug he could get his hands on. CLICK HERE to listen to Episode #4.